Do you find that you are burning the candle at both ends? There is no job more demanding than that of a new parent. The most important thing you can do to take care of your baby is to take care of yourself first! So, for the new year, how about you resolve to take care of yourself. Here are a few fun ways to fulfill this important resolution.
New Year’s Resolutions for the New Parent
Begin by taking a moment to evaluate how you are feeling at any given time. There is a great acronym, HALT. Are you feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? Literally halt and take a minute to take a few deep breaths and get in touch with how you are feeling. If you can identify feelings of hunger, anger, loneliness, or fatigue, try to address these first.
Some of these things can be a fairly easy fix. Obviously, grab a bite to eat, call a friend, or try to find time to lie down for a few minutes. It’s surprising how refreshing a very short power nap can be. Some of these are a little bit more complicated.
If you are feeling angry, take some time to explore this. Are you resentful, frustrated, unfulfilled? What is contributing to the anger? Is it something that you can talk to your partner or a good friend about and try to come up with some solutions? By the way, this is a helpful acronym with your baby as well. If she is having an irritable day, could she be hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Always try to meet these most basic needs in you and your baby first.
Take the time to reconnect with yourself.
Sometimes when we become parents we lose a little bit of our own identity and it can take a long time to get that back, but it is important to hang on to a piece of that for feelings of fulfillment and self-preservation. Is there something that you used to enjoy that you have not done since your baby was born? Maybe you used to play tennis or garden or simply write in a journal each night.
If you are no longer participating in these little habits or stress-relieving activities, it might be time to resolve to pick up that tennis racket again. It may be hard to leave your little one behind for an hour or two, but you will return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, able to be a more attentive parent. By meeting your needs first, you will be much more equipped to meet your little one’s needs.
Then take time to reconnect with your partner.
Another important thing to consider is taking time alone with your partner. Remember, your baby entered into your relationship and your family. The two of you come first and it is important to spend time on that relationship, as well.
Book a date night once in a while. Grandma would probably love a few hours alone with her grandson and you can get some adult conversation and eat with two hands! Maybe go watch a movie or go out with friends and have some adult conversation. One night out does wonders for feelings of fulfillment. Maybe you work all day and you feel guilty about going out in the evening, but work is not play for you. Remember, work is work and does not count as relaxation or leisure. For a well-balanced life, you need work, play and leisure.
Find time to be alone.
Maybe you have not taken time specifically for yourself to be alone and able to process your own thoughts. You may feel like you are alone all day because you’re alone with a baby who does not speak to you, but it is not the same as truly taking time for yourself. You are focused on your baby all day, his wants and needs, and schedule. Maybe you can take some time to take a walk in the evening or step outside to sit on the porch or do some gardening. Maybe you enjoy bubble baths. Make it an experience by lighting a candle, having a glass of wine and truly enjoying your time alone as you process your day.
Don’t forget to stay connected to friends. Schedule lunches together when you can. Bring your baby along or plan an evening to grab a drink together after your partner comes home. This connection will help to keep you grounded and allow you an outlet to talk about what is going on in your life and how you feel about things.
Being a new parent is a huge transition in your life and that in and of itself can be exhausting. You have entered a new phase, but it is important not to lose yourself in that. Remember, you will be a better parent if you resolve to take care of yourself first. If your cup is empty, there will be nothing left to give. Resolve to find a way to fill your cup every day. Your baby will thank you too!